FORT LIBERTY, N.C. – In a grand and heartfelt celebration, the 618th Engineer Support Company, nicknamed the Nasty, one of the most decorated engineer companies in the Army, marked its 80th anniversary of dedicated service to the country. Gathered at Fort Liberty, N.C., current and former members of the unit came together to honor the remarkable and growing legacy of the Nasty in September.
The unit was constituted and activated in 1943 and received its name when they were formally activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 1952, after being among the only paratroopers not airborne qualified at the time. Since its origin in World War II the unit has consistently answered the nations call, embodying the principles of duty, honor, and courage.
The unit kicked off its weeklong celebration alongside the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion (AEB) where the Nasty was assigned from 1961 until 2006. The two units conducted a celebratory jump where they displayed banners of comradery, not just visualization of military precision but also symbols of unity, strength and the enduring bonds between the unit that continues to exist. An extra added touch were the families in attendance who gleamed with pride during the jump.
Staff Sgt Lucas Kristofits, a current squad leader in the unit described the weeklong celebration to “get back to their roots”, “we learned a lot about the history of unit but also built comradery through the mental and physical challenges of the week” he stated.
In another display of competition, the engineer companies of 307th (AEB) and the Nasty participated in the annual competition centered around reenacting the historic actions taken during the WAAL River Crossing during Operation Market Garden. Amidst the billowing smoke and roars of cannon fire competitors vied for victory with the same spirit and determination that their historical counterparts had displayed. This unique and immersive event not only celebrated history but also served as a powerful reminder of the heroism shown during that operation.
The Nasty also executed a History and Alumni day, where paratroopers and their families visited the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, N.C. While there the current commander Capt. Rufus Huffman III reiterated the unit’s legacy throughout the museum. “Our history is a testament of the indomitable spirit of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers”, he proclaimed.
As the celebration came to end there was a sense of pride amongst all the troops in attendance. Spc. Xander Olsen, a horizontal construction engineer, stated that “once I leave this company, I get to tell others how I served in the Nasty and they understand the significance, just by the name.”
The 80-year journey is a testament to the enduring spirit and sacrifice that defines the men and women who have worn the unit insignia. With their eyes set firmly on what the future holds this venerable unit continues to stand ready to serve, ensuring that their legacy of honor and duty will endure for generations to come.